About Our Kids, Inc., (AOK) started as BCAWS Summer Camp in 1999 to provide affordable and progressive childcare for school age children while school is out for the summer.
We serve a free dinner Monday thru Friday from 4–4:30pm.
At the time, there were 600 children under the age of 12 in the Lamar School District alone and licensed child care capacity in the entire county was 181. (Kids Count in Missouri, 2000)
This grassroots effort has morphed from summer childcare into a non-profit dedicated to teaching lifelong skills to youth K-12. Annually, more than 50% of our Summer Camp campers are eligible for free/reduced meals.
With significant success in securing federal, state and local grants, AOK staff subsequently implemented innovative youth development programs (ranging from mentoring to substance misuse to college prep) and simultaneously pumping more than $7 million into the community.
Grants dried up in 2013 and AOK’s programs were funded entirely by local contributions from 2014 until a federal grant was awarded in August 2017—which not only validated our role in caring for area youth, but also has been a source of community pride demonstrating to young and old alike that youth are important to our population.
We are blessed to be part of such a giving and generous community.